‘Reporters Without Borders’, a press freedom NGO have teamed up with users of the popular online PC game ‘Minecraft’ to create an unprecedented source of free and available information to citizens of authoritarian countries.
In many authoritarian countries such as North Korea, Saudi Arabia and Syria, news sources, books and websites are censored by rulers in attempts to consolidate power and control citizens.
To combat suppressors a group of designers on the popular game ‘Minecraft’ have created a library full of information that citizens of those countries and the rest of the world can access without censorship.
The project, called ‘Uncensored Library’ is one of the most complex designs ever created on Minecraft, and was backed by the Reporters Without Borders Organisaion.
Minecraft is the most popular video game of all time with over 180 million total downloads and reports of over 112 million monthly users. In Minecraft, players explore a block-generated world where they can mine recourses and build anything they wish out of an infinite amount of materials.
The library itself took over three months to build inside the game, and reportedly uses over 12.5 million blocks. It sits on an island inside the online version of the game, but can also be downloaded for offline use.
The structure is said to have taken 24 builders from 16 different countries over 250 hours to build, and sits on an island with a surrounding garden.
An overview of the Uncensored Library breaks the building up into five key countries of interest in Saudi Arabia, Russia, Vietnam, Mexico and Egypt. In each room, different information that has been banned in that specific country can be viewed for free.
Egypt – Visitors can access news stories from independent Egyptian online newspaper Mada Masr, which has been banned in the country since 2017.
Saudi Arabia – Visitors to the Saudi Arabia wing will be able to access the works of Jamal Khashoggi, a journalist who was killed in Istanbul in 2018.
Russia – Articles and resources from grani.ru, a news site that has been banned in Russia since 2014, will be available in the Russian wing of the Library.
Mexico – Designers paid tribute to the memories of murdered Mexican journalists with their photos on plaques.
Vietnam – The work of Nguyen Van Dai, a human rights lawyer who was imprisoned in Vietnam before exiling to Germany will be available here.